Disability Retirement vs. Worker’s Comp

If you qualify for both disability retirement as well as worker’s compensation, you may be wondering which option is the right one for you. There are pros and cons of both.

Disability retirement can be claimed whether or not the condition you’re claiming was obtained while performing your job. It is paid out in an annuity that should take the place of your lost wages due to the inability to perform your work tasks due to your current condition.

On the flipside of that is worker’s compensation, where your condition must be due to an on-site injury while performing your job.

If you are claiming worker’s comp at some point, it would also be a wise move to protect your rights and the rights of your next of kin by simultaneously apply for disability retirement too.

In the event that you get approved for both claims, you’ll have to choose which one is the right option for you. Worker’s comp is usually the more popular options, as the benefits for it are often greater than that, and it is possible to reserve your right to disability retirement if and when your worker’s compensation runs out.

There are complications to this though because you’ll be dealing with two separate agencies for each claim, the OPM for your disability retirement, and the OWCP for your worker’s comp. If you start collecting OPM annuities from your claim before the OWCP gives you your benefits, you will have to pay back the OPM the money you already have gotten from them when you start collecting your worker’s comp. To ease this, you can choose for the OWCP to hold that amount from your worker’s comp until the accounts are even. Disability annuities are not issued while you’re on worker’s comp, but if your worker’s comp does end before you’ve recovered from your injury or before you’re ready to go back to work, the OPM can once again begin payouts.

An annuity is typically based off the time you spent in the service before leaving, barring any of the time you claimed worker’s comp and is subject to normal cost-of-living adjustments that most former employees get over the course of their retirement.

The same holds true for your surviving kin, or the beneficiaries of your policy, if job-related injuries or hazards result in your death, and your spouse or children would be the ones claiming compensation and death benefits from the OPM and OWCP, with the same dilemma, meaning that your loved ones would need to decide which of the two benefits are best for them.

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